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Who was Ser Mandon Moore's boss ?


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Everyone here should remember Ser Mandon Moore, one of the rare members members of the Kingsguard who joined after Robert's Rebellion to be really dangerous and competent, who was the one who tried to kill Tyrion at the Battle of the Blackwater, cutting his nose and face only to be killed by Podrick Payne who pushed him in the water where he drowned due to his armor.

After recovering and awakening from the battle, Tyrion is persuaded that Moore was ordered by Cersei to kill him and tries to find clues and proofs of it, but Bronn don't find any and Varys doesn't give him one either.

Do you believe that Tyrion is right, and that it's Cersei who tried to have him assassinated this night ? Or could it have been someone else who ordered Moore to murder Tyrion ?

Could it be Joffrey himself who may have had enough of his uncle's authority over him and belittle of him ? Could it be Littlefinger, as Mandon Moore is from the Vale too, and that LF may have wanted to get rid of the one man who rightfully suspected him of disloyalty and betrayal ? Or could it have been Varys himself, in an attempt to weaken the Lannisters and/or draw an additional wedge between them in the future ?

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I had not considered the Varys and LF theories, it wouldn't be that strange for Petyr to get hold of a Vale knight and ensure he can get his influence inside the King's Guard.

But I personally subscribe the strongest to the Cersei theory, since it's the one that seems more of her style: quick, opportunistic and at first sight infallible (he is described as both skilled ad unmoved). Trying to get one of her enemies killed in the middle of a scrap definitely sounds like her, and should Mandon die, she would be confident he wouldn't say a word. Besides, through most of the book it's Cersei who has the strongest qualm with him being Hand and is constantly fighting with underneath the table. 

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Imagine if it was just Mandon Moore himself doing it of his own volition. Maybe he just really doesn't like Tyrion and figures he can kill the guy during battle and be rid of him. 

I like to think Moore was just a really vindictive and petty guy who saw an opportunity to settle a score, only to have the worst luck ever.

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It's either Littlefinger or Cersei. Both had equal reasons to want Tyrion dead at that point in the story. We know next to nothing about Mandon Moore, so it's almost impossible to predict; the guy had next to no character development before Pod killed him.

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We don't know much about Mandon Moore, but he strikes me as a dutiful man, someone who simply follows orders and doesn't really have his own agenda. So I think we need to look to the chain of command. Since Tyrion was the King's Hand, I think the only person who had the authority to order Mandon to kill him was Joffrey. Does the Queen Regent outrank the King's Hand? I don't think Mandon would care about Joffrey's age. Isn't he one of the knights who beats Sansa? I also don't think Cersei would want Tyrion to die yet. Remember, he's in charge of King's Landing's defence. She needs him to keep her and Joffrey alive, even if she doesn't want to admit it. Joffrey's too dumb to think about things like that. Littlefinger could have suggested the idea to Joffrey, though, like I think he did with Ned's execution.

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hard to say, isn't it? GRRM has made it finely balanced. Since he comes from the Vale and we know LF has planted the Kettleblacks on Cersei it seems like LF. SInce Cersei seems like the character most likely to want to kill Tyrion and has the cunning to do it like this, it also seems like her. It could be both, Mandon sent by LF but allowed to go along with Cersei's command on this one.

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I personally believe either Littlefinger or Cersei, Cersei because she hates Tyrion and Littlefinger as a possible deterrent in whatever he plans, plus Mandon is from the Vale like Littlefinger.

On the other hand I wouldn't be surprised if Mandon's employer is revealed in an offhand way, like Joffrey turning out to be the catspaw's employer from AGOT.

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I've wondered about the OP's question for a while.

My only opinion is:  Not Cersei.  Cersei became homicidal towards Tyrion after she came to believe (and she really does believe this, and not without reason) that he murdered her son.  And of course, then he murdered their father.  I think Tyrion has long hated his family more than his family hated him.  That applies to everyone:  Jaime, Tywin, even Cersei.

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From a literary analysis perspective, I would examine these clues:

Jon Arryn brought Ser Mandon from the Vale and secured a place for him in the king's guard.

I think the name "Ser Mandon Moore" is an "almost" anagram of moon door. This seems apt for his origin in the Vale and his job guarding doors or crossing barriers (see below). 

Bronn thinks that Ser Mandon looks like a dead fish. Sansa thinks he has a dead face and Tyrion thinks he looks like a corpse in a shroud.

Members of the king's guard seem to have special abilities to cross barriers. (I have written about this elsewhere in the forum.) Before his attack on Tyrion, he seems to have several assignments involving guarding doors or being a shield. (I think doors and shields are synonymous in ASOIAF, as shown in Brienne's interaction with a Darklyn-related door-painter who she hires to paint her shield.)

He fights on one side of Tyrion during the Battle of the Blackwater, with Ser Balon Swann on Tyrion's other side. 

Just before Mandon appears to swipe at Tyrion with a sword, a "bridge of ships" has formed out of the sunken and sinking ships in the harbor. Tyrion rides down a stone quay to confront the army of Stannis Baratheon as it attempts to cross this bridge. (A stone "quay / key" is a synonym for king's landing and also relates to "the quai / Quaithe," who makes cryptic prophecies.)

Celtigar men (red crab sigil) kill Ser Balon's horse. Tyrion's horse breaks a leg so he slits its throat. (Compare to Gregor at the Hand's Tourney.) 

"A naked man fell from the sky and landed on the deck, body bursting like a melon dropped from a tower." (This could be one of the antler men being launched from the trebuchets known as the Three Whores, but the image has Dontos Hollard allusions - naked and the bursting melon - and Moon Door allusion with the fall from the sky.)

Ser Mandon Moore says to Tyrion, "MY LORD! TAKE MY HAND! MY LORD TYRION!" I played with some of the letters and found a lot of interesting possible anagrams involving Darklyn, Dayne, Manderly, Kindly Man, dead, dye, moon, door, donkey, naked, kitty, throne, melon, maiden myth, etc. One interesting anagram is "tamarin monkey," which is perhaps especially relevant because we learn later that Mark Mullendor's pet monkey was killed in the battle and we know that Tyrion has been compared to a monkey. 

In an earlier scene, Tyrion introduces Bronn to Ser Mandon. Ser Vardis Egan is mentioned and Ser Mandon says he knows him and Bronn corrects him by changing "know" to "knew," as Bronn has killed Ser Vardis Egan. When Lysa chose Ser Vardis to engage Tyrion's champion in the trial by combat, she said he was "ever my husband's good right hand." Now Ser Mandon offers Tyrion his left hand and says, "Take my hand!" Symbolically, Ser Mandon may be the left hand that was paired with Ser Vardis as the right hand. 

Tyrion grabs a broken oar and uses it to pull himself upright. (There are some interesting references to oars in ASOIAF. Probably worth some analysis. As oars are used to row a boat, the might be linked by wordplay to "whore" which is a particularly important motif for Tyrion. Wordplay might also link oars / soar, which might indicate that Tyrion is close to flying at this stage. Sweetrobin really wanted to see the little man fly.)

Tyrion managed to avoid the first sword slash by Moore but is then lying on the deck of the ship bridge and Moore stands over him - like the moon blocking Tyrion's view of the sky:

"Tyrion had no more strength than a rag doll. Ser Mandon put the point of his sword to the hollow of his throat and curled both hands around the hilt." I think the rag doll is significant because we will see a conflict between Sansa and Sweetrobin where Sweetrobin's doll destroys a wall of the snow Winterfell that Sansa has built with Littlefinger but then Sansa rips off the doll's head. The point of the sword on Tyrion's throat is the method used by Jon Snow to kill Qhorin Halfhand (Tyrion is the Hand and a halfman) and Theon to kill Ralf Kenning. 

Ser Mandon suddenly lurches to the left, the ship's rail splits and Ser Mandon vanishes. We are told later that he drowned. If he was already dead, drowning may be just a temporary setback - what's dead can never die.

I think that Ser Mandon represents the moon door or the passage through the moon door. If Tyrion's champion had lost the trial by combat at the Eyrie, he would have gone through the moon door. He was on trial, of course, because Lysa accused the Lannisters of killing her husband. Lysa hoped to push Sansa through that door but she ends up being pushed through it herself. Ser Mandon tried kill Tyrion; instead, Pod ends up pushing Ser Mandon to his death. 

From a literary perspective, I would say that Ser Mandon's attack on Tyrion is an attempt by Jon Arryn and/or Lysa to kill Tyrion. The right hand failed, so now the left hand is making an attempt. But Tyrion and the Lannisters didn't kill Jon Arryn; Lysa and Littlefinger did. So the second "trial" for Tyrion also results in acquittal and the Moon Door itself is destroyed instead. Since Lysa deflected attention from herself by accusing the Lannisters of poisoning Jon Arryn, it is appropriate that Tyrion strongly suspects that Cersei paid or commanded Ser Mandon to try to kill him.

But you could also make a case that this wasn't an attempted killing: Ser Mandon says, "Take my hand." There is a lot of significance of severed hands in ASOIAF. This may be a moment of Tyrion acquiring a magic power and Ser Mandon sacrificing himself to empower Tyrion.

There is a lot of symbolic stuff linking Tyrion to Ser Gregor Clegane. They worked together to "hold the river" at the Battle of the Green Fork. At the Blackwater, Tyrion again works to hold the river. In the Battle of the Blackwater, Pod intervenes to save Tyrion. I think Ser Gregor represents "green" (his name an anagram of Green Grace Log), Bronn (brown) represents soil and Pod represents seeds. Tyrion may symbolize Westeros. 

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I don't think it was Cersei. She usually choose men who respond to her allure. And there's this, in Maegor's Holdfast:

When Ser Lancel Lannister told the queen that the battle was lost, she turned her empty wine cup in her hands and said, "Tell my brother, ser."

Sounds like she's not expecting Tyrion to be dead.

11 hours ago, Seams said:

I think the name "Ser Mandon Moore" is an "almost" anagram of moon door. This seems apt for his origin in the Vale and his job guarding doors or crossing barriers (see below). 

I'm not fond of anagrams, but I appreciate this one. I can believe the name was created from the moon door. I also believe in Mandon's symbolic value - he's too extreme just to be a bit character.

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On 11/26/2022 at 5:51 PM, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

Everyone here should remember Ser Mandon Moore, one of the rare members members of the Kingsguard who joined after Robert's Rebellion to be really dangerous and competent, who was the one who tried to kill Tyrion at the Battle of the Blackwater, cutting his nose and face only to be killed by Podrick Payne who pushed him in the water where he drowned due to his armor.

After recovering and awakening from the battle, Tyrion is persuaded that Moore was ordered by Cersei to kill him and tries to find clues and proofs of it, but Bronn don't find any and Varys doesn't give him one either.

Do you believe that Tyrion is right, and that it's Cersei who tried to have him assassinated this night ? Or could it have been someone else who ordered Moore to murder Tyrion ?

Could it be Joffrey himself who may have had enough of his uncle's authority over him and belittle of him ? Could it be Littlefinger, as Mandon Moore is from the Vale too, and that LF may have wanted to get rid of the one man who rightfully suspected him of disloyalty and betrayal ? Or could it have been Varys himself, in an attempt to weaken the Lannisters and/or draw an additional wedge between them in the future ?

My guess is Littlefinger. But the truly odd thing about Ser Mandon is his appearance. Pale grey, lifeless eyes, sort of like Roose Bolton. He is also mostly silent, solitary, and has a look of death about him, like a "corpse in a shroud."

So this has me thinking of Qyburn and his work with Gregor. Could it be that Qyburn and Littlefinger have a relationship?

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1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

My guess is Littlefinger. But the truly odd thing about Ser Mandon is his appearance. Pale grey, lifeless eyes, sort of like Roose Bolton. He is also mostly silent, solitary, and has a look of death about him, like a "corpse in a shroud."

There was a theory Mandon was Domeric. I don't know if it works, but...

Edited by Craving Peaches
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I don't think Cersei did it. As said, Tyrion was in charge of the defense at KL, and Cersei had no idea that Tywin and Mace were going to arrive. Ordering Tyrion's murder would jeopardize the lives of Cersei's sons, so she would never do that. Besides, there are many opportunities during her POVs in Feast where she would have lamented failing to kill Tyrion if she had tried it.

I guess Littlefinger is a possibility, but I don't like the idea very much. There must be a limit to the amount of conspiracies he may be part of. And he had been at Bitterbridge for some time, so it'd be yet another theory that requires Littlefinger to puppeteer events from afar.

The ideas that make more sense to me would be Mandon acting on Joffrey's orders or on his own accord would be the ones that I'd prefer, but the problem here is that Martin would have no way of revealing that to the readers.

On 11/27/2022 at 6:30 PM, Lady Ella said:

 Does the Queen Regent outrank the King's Hand?

Yes, she would. The Regent represents the king, and acts in his behalf. The Hand would serve under her. In Fire and Blood we saw how the regents were the ones who named the hands and could overrule them on occasion.

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Quote

"I know the man." Ser Mandon's eyes were pale grey, oddly flat and lifeless.

"Knew," Bronn corrected with a thin smile.

Ser Mandon did not deign to show that he had heard that.

(ACoK, Tyrion I)

 

22 hours ago, Seams said:

The point of the sword on Tyrion's throat is the method used by Jon Snow to kill Qhorin Halfhand (Tyrion is the Hand and a halfman) and Theon to kill Ralf Kenning

"Ken" is a Scottish word for "know" or "knowledge." (The German verb is "kennen.") Theon might be killing "knowledge" when he kills Ralf Kenning. (Is "Ralf" a form of wordplay on "half"? This could be a further link to the Halfman and Halfhand.)

Furthermore, Ser Mandon succeeds in cutting off Tyrion's nose. If we presume wordplay on "knows," does this mean that he achieves his goal - that he intended to kill "knowledge," as Theon did to Ralf Kenning at Moat Cailin?

(The famous quote from Tyrion - "I drink and I know things" - is show-only, not in the books. But maybe GRRM suggested this quote to make it clear that Jon Snow and Tyrion are foils? Ygritte tells Jon Snow, "You know nothing, Jon Snow.")

The odd phrase "deign to show" is the kind that GRRM uses to hide hints, if I'm right about his use of anagrams. It might be a clue about Ser Mandon's symbolic role. "Now die Ghost" might hint that Ser Mandon's role is similar to Ygritte's role in Jon's arc, where she never appears onstage with the direwolf Ghost and she kills the (imho) symbolic direwolf Ghost when she kills the mute old man at the ruined inn. Given Ser Mandon's dead appearance, maybe he is the ghost who is about to die. 

I have written elsewhere that I think Ser Ilyn Payne is the symbolic direwolf for the Lannisters, and he is mute like Ghost. It is not Ser Ilyn who defends Tyrion against Ser Mandon, but the mini-Payne, Podrick. Podrick is not mute, but he has a speech impediment. 

Ghost helped Jon Snow kill Qhorin Halfhand by biting Qhorin's leg while Jon Snow is fighting him with a sword. 

What I'm saying is that Ser Mandon's function seems to be similar to Qhorin Halfhand and Ygritte's role in Jon Snow's arc, and Ralf Kenning's role in Theon's arc. I wonder whether the miller's wife is the equivalent of Ygritte in Theon's arc? It would make sense that Shae is the equivalent of Ygritte in Tyrion's arc.

Pod, the direwolf Ghost and Ser Ilyn may also be parallels who fight against the Qhorin / Ygritte forces in the lives of the key characters.

Ser Mandon as a parallel for Qhorin Halfhand also makes sense to me in terms of his function of letting Tyrion pass through doors - this is similar to Qhorin's role in helping Jon Snow to reach the mountain top where he can see Mance's camp at the Milkwater and where he meets Ygritte.

But Qhorin sacrifices himself when he knows that it will help Jon Snow to advance in his larger mission of infiltrating and defeating the Wildlings. He does this by engaging Jon Snow in a sword fight. Is Ser Mandon doing something similar when he attacks Tyrion at the Blackwater? They had been comrades in arms up until Ser Mandon says, "Take my hand!" and then goes after Tyrion with a sword. Tyrion is trying to keep people from crossing a bridge of sinking ships at that moment and Ser Mandon is ostensibly trying to help him cross that bridge.

Later, we see Tyrion accused of being a traitor in the death of Joffrey - perhaps similar to Janos Slynt accusing Jon Snow of being a traitor when he killed Qhorin. (Joffrey has a lot of "Moon boy" symbolism, perhaps linking him to Ser Mandon, if I'm right about the "Moon door" connection in his name.) Tyrion then take several boat rides - perhaps this is his bridge of boats - and successfully crosses to Essos, navigates the Rhoyne and reaches Meereen. The last boat in the series of boat trips for Tyrion is the Selaesori Qhoran, a passage chosen for him and Ser Jorah by the Widow of the Waterfront, a character who seems similar to the Kindly Man and to Littlefinger in some ways. The ship's figurehead seems to allude to Tywin Lannister and the ship sinks - perhaps completing the symbolism of the bridge of boats that started for Tyrion at The Blackwater.

(Hmm. Maybe Ser Mandon is a symbolic Tywin Lannister. Throughout ASOIAF, I believe that Tywin is actually fostering Tyrion to be a leader but he does so by showing him no affection and making him fight for everything he gets. Maybe the ship breaking up in the storm is Tywin sacrificing himself like Qhorin with Jon Snow and Ser Mandon with Tyrion.)

Also interesting that Jeor Mormont sent Jon out in Qhorin's ranging party while Jorah Mormont accompanied Tyrion on the ship Selaesori Qhoran.

But back to Ser Mandon.

He is dressed in white and appears to be devoid of color in his face. But he rides an all-black horse. Balon Swan joins with him and Tyrion in combat, and his sigil is the black and white swans facing in opposite directions. We see black and white doors at Tobho Mott's blacksmith shop, the House of Black and White and the House of the Undying. But the Moon Door at the Eyrie is made of weirwood only, no ebony. 

The two-faced black and white swans remind me of the two-faced Janus from classical mythology and that causes me to consider Janos Slynt.

This is getting too long again but one additional set of parallel characters: after Ser Mandon supposedly drowns at the Blackwater, we learn that Davos Seaworth swam under the burning mass of ships. He lost his fingerbones (halfhand) but somehow  revives after being drowned. Could Ser Davos be the reincarnation of Ser Mandon? Or a merger with the drowned man? Davos was a street urchin from Flea Bottom, as I recall, which is where the black and white doors of Tobho Mott's forge are found. Like the king's guard, Davos is able to cross barriers as a smuggler. 

Davos's ship is called Black Betha and it may have been named after Betha Blackwood, wife of Aegon V. If Davos and Ser Mandon Moore are somehow merged when the drown in the Blackwater, this could represent the merger of the Moon Door (weirwood) and the sunken ship (Blackwood), creating a magic portal uniting black and white. 

Isn't it interesting that the long-lost Lord Commander, Brynden Rivers, appears to be a Blackwood who has gone under the earth and joined with a weirwood? Another uniting of the two types of wood but with earth instead of water. 

I would further guess that Jon's encounter with the massive weirwood at the village of Whitetree is part of this symbolism. The cavity in the trunk has been charred and there are two human skulls in the ashes. So this is a portal where white and black wood have been united by fire. 

The black and white portal made by ice might finally explain why Castle Black has that name. The Wall made of ice is united with the black castle to create that magic portal of black and white. Instead of a barrier, The Wall is functioning as a magic door.

So what would be our prediction for The Blackfish? He swam under a portcullis, which is black iron. Where will he find the white he needs to create a door? My first guess is White Harbor. But he's a river guy, so maybe the White Knife. Or maybe he will return to the Vale, with the white weirwood Moon Door, where he lived for many years. 

Lots to ponder here.

 

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22 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

There was a theory Mandon was Domeric. I don't know if it works, but...

Kind of doubtful because Dom didn't die until 297 and there's no record of a KG dying after that time other than the ones we know were killed or dismissed after Mandon had already been appointed (Selmy, Greenfield).

Of course, that would mean Mandon was one of the original five appointed by Robert at the beginning of his reign, which means Littlefinger would have been in close contact with Lysa way back then.

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Varys doesn't make much sense to me.  If King's Landing falls, his power and position are almost certainly lost.  Having Tyrion killed during the battle decreases the chances of successfully defending the city, and Varys needs to stay in a position of power / influence until it is time for whatever it is he has planned.  

Additionally, Tyrion would likely be an ally Varys can recruit later if Stannis is defeated - potentially a powerful one as he has a claim on the Westerlands.  

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